Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/80

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and paintings of Mexico, and by the oldest portrait-pottery of Peru. All alike show markedly non-Indian features, while they often closely resemble modern European types. Ancient crania, too, have been found in all these countries, presenting very different characters from those of any of the modern indigenous races of America.[1]

There is one other striking example of a higher being succeeded by a lower degree of knowledge, which is in danger of being forgotten because it has been made the foundation of theories which seem wild and fantastic, and are probably in great part erroneous. I allude to the Great Pyramid of Egypt, whose form, dimensions, structure, and uses, have recently been the subject of elaborate works by Prof. Piazzi Smyth. Now, the admitted facts about this pyramid are so interesting and so apposite to the subject we are considering, that I beg to recall them to your attention. Most of you are aware that this pyramid has been carefully explored and measured by successive Egyptologists, and that the dimensions have lately become capable of more accurate determination, owing to the discovery of some of the original casing-stones and the clearing away of the earth from the corners of the foundation, showing the sockets in which the corner-stones fitted. Prof. Smyth devoted many months of work with the best instruments in order to fix the dimensions and angles of all accessible parts of the structure; and he has carefully determined these by a comparison of his own and all previous measures, the best of which agree pretty closely with each other. The results arrived at are:

1. That the pyramid is truly square, the sides being equal and the angles right angles.

2. That the four sockets on which the first four stones of the corners rested are truly on the same level.

3. That the directions of the sides are accurately to the four cardinal points.

4. That the vertical height of the pyramid bears the same proportion to its circumference at the base as the radius of a circle does to its circumference.

Now all these measures, angles, and levels, are accurate, not as an ordinary surveyor or builder could make them, but to such a degree as requires the very best modern instruments and all the refinements of geodetical science to discover any error at all. In addition to this we have the wonderful perfection of the workmanship in the interior of the pyramid, the passages and chambers being lined with huge blocks of stones fitted with the utmost accuracy, while every part of the building exhibits the highest structural science.

In all these respects this largest pyramid surpasses every other in Egypt. Yet it is universally admitted to be the oldest, and also the oldest historical building in the world.

  1. Wilson's "Prehistoric Man," third edition, vol. ii., pp. 125, 144.